A Lover From Palestine
by Mahmoud Darwish

Her eyes are Palestinian
Her name is Palestinian
Her dress and sorrow Palestinian
Her kerchief, her feet and body Palestinian
Her words and silence Palestinian
Her voice Palestinian
Her birth and her death Palestinian


Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish has died after surgery at the age of 67, hospital and Palestinian officials say.

He suffered complications after undergoing open-heart surgery in Houston, Texas, said a spokesman for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr Darwish was the most recognised Palestinian poet in the world, using his words to try to draw attention to the Palestinian cause.

He also delivered harsh criticism of the infighting by Palestinian factions. (Full Story...)


I am from There
by Mahmoud Darwish

I come from there and remember,
I was born like everyone is borne, I have a mother
and a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends and a prison.
I have a wave that sea-gulls snatched away.
I have a view of my own and an extra blade of grass.
I have a moon past the peak of words.
I have the godsent food of birds and olive tree beyond the ken of time.
I have traversed the land before swords turned bodies into banquets.
I come from there. I return the sky to its mother when for its mother the
sky cries, and I weep for a returning cloud to know me.
I have learned the words of blood-stained courts in order to break the rules.
I have learned and dismantled all the words to construct a single one:


Mahmoud Darwish is considered to be the most important contemporary Arab poet working today. He was born in 1942 in the village of Barweh in the Galilee, which was razed to the ground by the Israelis in 1948. As a result of his political activism he faced house arrest and imprisonment.

Darwish was the editor of Ittihad Newspaper before leaving in 1971 to study for a year in the USSR. Then he went to Egypt where he worked in Cairo for Al-Ahram Newspaper and in Beirut, Lebanon as an editor of the Journal “Palestinian Issues”. He was also the director of the Palestinian Research Center.

Darwish was a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO and lived in exile between Beirut and Paris until his return in 1996 to Palestine. His poems are known throughout the Arab world, and several of them have been put to music. His poetry has gained great sophistication over the years, and has enjoyed international fame for a long time. He has published around 30 poetry and prose collections, which have been translated into 35 languages. He is the editor in chief and founder of the prestigious literary review Al Karmel, which has resumed publication in January 1997 out of the Sakakini Centre offices. He published in 1998 the poetry collection: Sareer el Ghariba (Bed of the Stranger), his first collection of love poems.

In 2000 he published Jidariyya (Mural) a book consisting of one poem about his near death experience in 1997. He published his book of poetry "Stage of Siege" in 2002.

In 1997 a documentary was produced about him by French TV directed by noted French-Israeli director Simone Bitton. He is a commander of the French Order of Arts and Letters. Mahmound Darwish is an honorary member of the Sakakini Centre.


Without exile, who am I?
by Mahmoud Darwish

Stranger on the bank, like the river . . . tied up to your
name by water. Nothing will bring me back from my free
distance to my palm tree: not peace, nor war. Nothing
will inscribe me in the Book of Testaments. Nothing,
nothing glints off the shore of ebb and flow, between
the Tigris and the Nile. Nothing
gets me off the chariots of Pharaoh. Nothing
carries me for a while, or makes me carry an idea: not
promises, nor nostalgia. What am I to do, then? What
am I to do without exile, without a long night
staring at the water?
Tied up
to your name
by water . . .
Nothing takes me away from the butterfly of my dreams
back into my present: not earth, nor fire. What
am I to do, then, without the roses of Samarkand? What
am I to do in a square that burnishes the chanters with
moon-shaped stones? Lighter we both have
become, like our homes in the distant winds. We have
both become friends with the clouds'
strange creatures; outside the reach of the gravity
of the Land of Identity. What are we to do, then . . . What
are we to do without exile, without a long night
staring at the water?
Tied up
to your name
by water . . .
Nothing's left of me except for you; nothing's left of you
except for me -- a stranger caressing his lover's thigh: O
my stranger! What are we to do with what's left for us
of the stillness, of the siesta that separates legend from legend?
Nothing will carry us: not the road, nor home.
Was this road the same from the start,
or did our dreams find a mare among the horses
of the Mongols on the hill, and trade us off?
And what are we to do, then?
are we to do


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